Advice from a Teacher: Beware of the Summer Slide

Created by a former 8th grader

Created by one of my former 8th graders

This summer I’m adding a new category in my Tuesday is for Teachers post for parents, grandparents, or caregivers who read to children. To make the writing and reading easier I’ll refer to the children you care for regularly or randomly as “your” children.

While your children are slippin’ and slidin’ to stay cool this summer, don’t miss an opportunity to help them avoid the “summer slide”.  My daily newspaper, The Tennessean, carried a story recently on the importance of summer reading for children. Educators have known for years that children who don’t read in the summer are likely to lose some reading and cognitive skills. The “summer slide” used to refer to children who came from poverty or minorities, but in this age of technology all parents need to be vigilant in providing opportunities for their children to read.

Tips for Getting Started

  • Time

I recently suggested to my niece that she schedule a daily reading time for her two young children. It is important to read to children as well as to encourage them in independent reading. You may have already made reading a natural part of your interaction with your children but don’t let summer activities crowd out reading.

  • Public Library

Many public libraries have summer reading programs that challenge children to read a certain number of books. It’s not too late to enroll your children in one of these programs. If the library is new to you or your children, ask a librarian to give you a tour and explain where to find books appropriate to the age of your children.

  • Dolly’s Imagination

If you have preschool or even toddlers and live in Tennessee, you must join the fabulous Imagination Library started by our own fabulous Dolly Parton. Beginning at birth a child receives a free book EVERY month until they are six years old. Check out the web link to find out more. You can sign up a child online and read more on how books are selected. The program has expanded beyond Tennessee and you can find out if it is available in your location through the links on the website.

  • Little Free Library

Have you seen or heard about the Little Free Libraries? It’s such a great idea for sharing books — all kinds of books, for adults, teens, and kids. Begun in 2009 as a place to give away books, it has grown into a worldwide neighborhood idea of “take a book, leave a book”. You can find the nearest library to you, learn how to make your own Little Free Library in your neighborhood, donate, organize, or care for (steward) a free library at their website. This website is full of wonderful resources and information.

My nephew in Georgia with his two precious readers

My nephew in Georgia with his two precious readers

What an eager reader!

What an eager reader!












This link, Steward’s Treasure Chest, has book recommendations, blogs, activities, bookmarks to download, and more! If you want a project to involve your kids, this would be a great one. Just think how this idea can be shared with people without books around the world.

Encouraging your child to be a reader is a gift that can last a lifetime. If you encounter some resistance in reading, remind your child that the brain is like a muscle. It has to be exercised and challenged to get stronger. Strong readers and successful students go together like peanut butter and jelly. Often boys are not as motivated to read, which often means they haven’t found reading material that interests them. Look for nonfiction books and magazines that are aligned with their interests. And don’t forget graphic novels.

I’ll offer more reading suggestions ideas next week.

Do you know some resources for books that would interest other parents or grandparents? Share them with us in a comment.

Happy summer reading!

This brain God created in each of us is fascinating! I thank God for the joy of reading and the opportunities it provides.




3 thoughts on “Advice from a Teacher: Beware of the Summer Slide

  1. Dianne Wright

    I was so pleased that you included the suggestion that parents continue to read to their children. Their receptive vocabulary expands when good literature is read aloud to them. The books for emergent readers have very limited and controlled vocabulary.

    1. JoyMartell Post author

      Thanks for the reminder. I strongly believe in the importance of developing a child’s vocabulary. It’s essential to reading and writing and . . .

  2. Pingback: Books for Young Children | Counting Joy Blog

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